Brave Pet of the Month

Sam's Story

Sam is a 10yr old Border Collie who has diabetes. He recently suffered from a vestibular episode – similar signs to a stroke but caused by the inner ear.

He vomited and was very wobbly on his feet and his eyes were flicking from side to side. These episodes are quite common in older, medium to large breed dogs. Thankfully affected dogs usually rapidly improve over a few days and eventually fully recover. Treatment involves antinausea medications, as they tend to feel very sick and sometimes drugs that improve blood circulation in the brain.

Sam’s diabetes complicated things a lot because he would vomit food back or not want to eat and we had to alter his dose of insulin daily to prevent his blood sugar dropping dangerously low. His owners were very worried about him and hugely relieved when after 5 days he was happily eating again.

He still has quite a severe head tilt but this will improve over the next few months and he should return to normal.

We check his blood glucose regularly and he always has a bit of chicken afterwards to reward him so he gets very excited and waggy when he sees us. He is a lovely boy and we are all very glad that he’s himself again.

Walter's Story

Over the past year, Walter, a 13 year old Border collie with a fondness for chicken, has become one of our most popular visitors, gaining a place in the hearts of all the Kendal staff.

Walter has been a regular visitor to the practice since he was diagnosed with lymphoma (a type of cancer) a year ago.

Without treatment, this aggressive cancer would have rapidly made Walter very unwell and he would not have been expected to survive more than 6 weeks.

Thankfully, although it is not possible to cure lymphoma, many dogs respond well to treatment with chemotherapy. Our lymphoma patients experience few (if any) side effects and often live happy and normal lives whilst undergoing treatment.

Although chemotherapy may not be suitable for all cases, Walters’s family opted to try the treatment and happily Walter responded well.

Over the past year Walter has regularly attended the surgery for his chemotherapy sessions, quickly realising that chemotherapy comes with chicken. So maybe the vet’s isn’t so bad after all?

Despite the cancer returning recently, Walter still remains with us a year following his initial diagnosis and continues to enjoy a normal happy life, with his family.

It is Walters’s attitude, as well as his willingness to please, that has meant he has been awarded our very worthy brave pet of the month. 

Montys' Story


Monty is a typical happy, lively 2 year old Flat Coated Retriever who was brought into the surgery by his worried owners after he had eaten some of the children’s home made Easter decorations. Although Monty didn’t look unwell the owners reported that there were approximately 21 pins used in the decorations which were now missing!

Monty was admitted to the surgery and an x-ray taken of his stomach, which confirmed our suspicions.  The pins could be seen quite clearly on the x-ray!                                                     

After discussion with the owner it was agreed that Monty would require an exploratory laparotomy to remove the pins.  The surgery itself can have complications but the risk of leaving the pins to ‘pass through’ was even higher.   

The operation took over an hour but luckily, the surgery went well, all the pins were removed and also a button!  Monty recovered well after his operation and was able to go home the same day with strict instructions to watch what he ate!


Martha’s Story

Martha, an 8 week old very small Jack Russel pup was brought into us because she had suddenly become very lethargic and had diarrhoea.

On examination, she was very flat and had extremely pale (white) gums which should be a healthy pink colour. A blood test showed her red blood cells were at 5%, they should be 35% and she was critically ill. Here is a photo of her blood and a normal blood sample.

She was given an emergency blood transfusion and the next day she looked much brighter. She was put onto steroids – following our original diagnosis of autoimmune, and she is doing amazingly well.

We will reduce her steroids gradually and hopefully she’ll be fine. Here she is a week after her transfusion.

Cocoa's Story

Cocoa is a bright and bouncy 11 year old chocolate Labrador. Her owners brought her in after they found a lump growing on her lip. A biopsy confirmed that she had a cancerous tumour. To prevent the cancer from spreading she underwent an operation to have a section of lip, including the tumour, removed.

Here she is 10 days post-surgery. She loves coming to the vets and it took several attempts to get a photo because she is gets so waggy and excited.

Maggies' Story

Maggies’ owners gave her a home from Animal Rescue about 3 years ago.

Unfortunately she has severe skin problem, but is one of the sweetest dogs you could ever wish to meet.

She’s been having treatment since she arrived at Animal Rescue and is much better but she’ll always have skin problems sadly.

Recently her ears, which are an extension of the skin, became infected.

Because she was shaking her head a lot she ruptured a blood vessel in her left earflap. This caused it to swell up with blood, like a sandbag.

Her ear was drained with a needle and syringe but kept filling up again so we had to operate to open the flap and place special stitches to prevent it filling up with blood again.

Here she is after her operation. She may look sad but she was wagging her tail furiously when we took this photo!

Georgina's Story

Georgina is a 9 year old Yorkie who had to undergo three anaesthetics and operations in one month.

First she had emergency surgery for a pyometra - a condition older unspayed female dogs are very prone to. The womb fills with pus and the dog becomes seriously ill and will die without appropriate treatment.

The best treatment is to spay them - remove the ovaries and womb - and if done quickly, they will usually recover very well. This was the case with Georgina and she went home 2 days after surgery.

She came in bouncing for a wound check 4 days later, and was a very happy, waggy little girl. Unfortunately, that evening, she had an accident at home and ruptured the ligaments in her knee. This required more surgery to replace the ligament. She recovered very well but a week later she chewed the stitches out and opened the wound. She had to be anaesthetized again and restitched! She was sent home with a cone collar to wear at all times until it had fully healed. She is now fully recovered. Here she is greeting one of our nurses on her doorstep.

Perry's Story

Perry is a very loveable cat with a great character who unfortunately has a habit of lying in the road expecting cars to drive round him. Sadly one day this didn't happen.

One Friday evening Perry was picked up off the road and rushed into us by a passerby. He was struggling to breathe, coughing up blood and his jaw was hanging open. Thankfully he was chipped so we were able to trace his owners quickly.

A chest x-ray showed bleeding into his lungs and a tear in his diaphragm. This is a membrane that separates the chest from the abdomen to maintain a vacuum for lung expansion and keeps abdominal organs out.

He was too unstable for us to repair it at the time so we hospitalised him for a few days. His jaw was not fractured, it was just nerve damage and left to improve would heal on its own, which it has.

He was cage rested at home and when he'd improved enough, had surgery to repair his diaphragm, 11 days after the accident. This gave his damaged lungs time to repair. Here he is shortly after his operation in our oxygen tent.

Chester's Story

Chester is an 8 month old labradoodle. One sunny day back in May, Chester's owners thought it would be nice to go for a walk and took him and his friend Meeko (another Labradoodle) to Cunswick Scar.

Everyone was having a great time when unfortunately Chester ran out of sight. His owners rushed over towards where they had last seen him and found themselves on the edge of a small cliff! They looked down with their hearts in their mouths at the thought of what they might see. Chester had fallen over the edge, about a 30ft drop, and had landed on a car bonnet in the car park.

He was rushed to the surgery in severe shock and a lot of pain but responded well to his emergency treatment. X rays revealed he had dislocated his left hip. The team put it back in place but it wouldn't stay in so he had surgery to pin it in place.

He is doing fantastically well and is exercising more and more. He is a very lucky boy and he didn't even damage the car bonnet that undoubtedly saved his life!

Troy's Story

Troy arrived at the surgery in a very sad state. He had been attacked by a large dog minutes earlier.

He was in a state of shock and a lot of pain. Troy was admitted for pain relief and a review of his wounds. 

On initial examination he appeared to have four puncture wounds. An x-ray was taken to see if there was any internal damage. Radiographs revealed herniation of the abdominal muscles. Apparently innocuous puncture wounds were the tip of the iceberg. Poor Troy has been shaken during the attack leading to laceration of the body wall. Surgery was undertaken to repair the hernia and try to recreate the body wall. Two hours of surgery was required to patch him together.

Troy has made a remarkable recovery. He remained a little bruised and battered for several days but was walking well and now all that remains as a sign of his ordeal is a slight hind limb limp and couple of scars. A very brave dog indeed.

Miranda's Story

Miranda is a pet goat owned by one of our farm clients' sons.

Miranda was expecting and when she went into labour things did not progress as expected. Her owners were concerned and contacted the farm team for help. A vet went to the farm to take a look and found that the kids head was in an abnormal position which had caused her womb to rupture.

With a little help the kid was born naturally and alive but Miranda was in a lot of trouble. Her ruptured womb had to be repaired if there was any chance of saving her. So we operated under local anaesthetic to try and repair her womb. Initially this was attempted with her standing but part way through the operation she collapsed. We put her on intravenous fluids and after over an hour of surgery to try and stitch up her ruptured womb we closed the wound with our fingers crossed.

Miranda was left on intravenous fluids for 3 days and had to remain on antibiotics for over two weeks.

We are thrilled to say she is now making a full recovery and getting back to her old antics with her kid in tow which has been named Nessa.

Alfie's Story

Alfie was brought to the surgery one night after his owners became concerned as he wasn't himself and had a swollen abdomen. His abdomen was painful to examine and our vet thought there was some sort of mass which was confirmed by a scan.

We decided that we should operate to remove the mass as Alfie was deteriorating quickly.

The surgery revealed a ruptured spleen and the mass was a blood clot about 15cm in diameter. Alfie's was an unusual case as his spleen had ruptured even though he didn't have a tumour which is more often the case.

Alfie recovered really well and is back to his usual tricks.

Ruby's Story

Ruby is a 7 year old Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. She was brought into the surgery as she had been vomiting for a few days. 

She was treated for Gastroenteritis and improved. Then her owner saw she had something dangling from her bottom. It turned out to be a carpet thread that was like string. We opertated and found it was lodged in her stomach and running throughout her intestines, causing a concertina effect.

She had an incision into her stomach and one in her intestines to remove all the 'string' and went on to make an excellent recovery. She was a super patient and the staff are chuffed she is doing so well.

Lochan's Story

Lochan was a typical healthy Border Collie puppy growing up with his litter mates in the South Lakes. He had just had his 1st vaccinations and was looking forward to going to his new home in a few weeks.

Christmas day came and disaster struck - he jumped up at feeding time - fell awkwardly and cried in pain.

Veterinary Surgeon Paul Hibbin saw him on Christmas Day and he was sedated and x rayed to check why he wasn't using his leg. The x ray revealed a broken tibia (shin bone) and Lochan had to have pain killers and his leg was strapped up.

His leg was repaired using a metal pin and epoxy resin frame ( called an external fixator) and despite his best efforts to remove the dressing, he is doing fine and walking well. We will remove the frame when his young bones should have healed and he should be none the worse for his unfortunate accident.

Trumans' Story

Truman, 1 year old chocolate labrador, came to the surgery after he vomited up a pair of knickers and passed a sock in his motions. The owner was very worried as he was very poorly and his stomach appeared bloated.

Truman was admitted to the hospital for x-rays of hos tummy. Although no obstruction was seen, Truman's stomach was very large and full of food even though he hadn't eaten for 24hrs. His stomach was so abnormal we decided to perform an exploratory surgery.

Before we did this, we removed his stomach contents using a tube inserted from his mouth to his stomach. We did this to reduce the risk of regurgitation during surgery, which may lead to pneumonia is inhaled. When we did this we removed a large amount of fermented animal feed, which Truman must have eaten as well as the knickers and socks. Thankfully, no further clothing was found inside Truman, although his intestines were very inflamed.

Truman's bloating could have lead to his stomach twisting, so to prevent this, an attachment was made between his stomach and his abdominal muscles to hold it in place.

Happily, Truman made a full recovery and was discharged two days later. Truman shows us how greedy some dogs can be; unfortunately not all dogs are as lucky as Truman. In his case the bloat most likely occurred because of what he had eaten and thankfully his stomach has not twisted. Unfortunately, bloat often happens suddenly. It is most common in large breed dogs, happening shortly after feeding. If your dog is uncomfortable and appears bloated always call immediately for advice as this is a life threatening condition.